Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC San Diego

UC San Diego Previously Published Works bannerUC San Diego

SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell responses and immune regulation in infected pregnant women.


We studied the T cell response to SARS-CoV-2 spike and non-spike peptide epitopes in eight convalescent pregnant women together with the immune monitoring that included innate tolerogenic dendritic cell populations important to maintain the immunological mother/fetus interface to address a potential risk for the antiviral cellular response in the outcome of pregnancy. Four subjects had pre-existing chronic inflammatory conditions that could have potentially affected the SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell response. Seven of eight subjects responded to SARS-CoV-2 peptides with differences within CD4+ T helper (Th) and CD8+ cytotoxic T cells (CTL). SARS-CoV-2-specific inducible regulatory T cells (iTreg) were numerous in circulation. CD4+ T cell memory included central memory T cells (TCM) and effector memory (TEM). As far as the CD8+ memory repertoire, TCM and TEM were very low or absent in eight of eight subjects and only effector cells that revert to CD45RA+, defined as TEMRA were measurable in circulation. T cells were in the normal range in all subjects regardless of pre-existing inflammatory conditions. The immune phenotype indicated the expansion and activation of tolerogenic myeloid dendritic cells including CD14+ cDC2 and CD4+ ILT-4+ tmDC. In summary, SARS-CoV-2 infection induced a physiological anti-viral T cell response in pregnant women that included SARS-CoV-2-specific iTreg with no negative effects on the tolerogenic innate dendritic cell repertoire relevant to the immune homeostasis of the maternal-fetal interface. All eight subjects studied delivered full-term, healthy infants.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View